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Best TV Theme Songs Lyrics & Videos

M*A*S*H, Friends, Welcome Back Kotter, The Fresh Prince of Bel Air, and Many More

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The best TV theme songs can bring back a flood of memories. Remember when you waited for the appointed hour to watch your favorite show? After a slew of commercials, suddenly, the theme song was playing and it was your cue to begin watching in earnest. If you weren’t singing word-by-word, you were usually at least humming along.

Well, we went back a bit and listened to a whole bunch of themes songs. We selected our favorites based on music quality, originality and fit to the visual aspects of the program and specifically, the opening. And so, we selected our best of the best. Enjoy!

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Best TV Theme Songs of All Time

Here are our top favorites of all time. And, let me just say, there were some tough decisions to be made.

Welcome Back Kotter Theme Video

Written and sung by the Lovin’ Spoonful’s John Sebastian, “Welcome Back” reached the top spot on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in May of 1976. Because the TV lead’s name “Kotter” didn’t lend itself well to musical lyrics, Sebastian had a hard time writing the song at first. He decided to focus on the teacher’s return, and the result was this classic: “Welcome Back.”

Lyrics to “Welcome Back”
Welcome back, your dreams were your ticket out,
Welcome back, to that same old place that you laughed about,
Well the names have all changed since you hung around,
But those dreams have remained and they’ve turned around,
Who’d have thought they’d lead ya,
(Who’d have thought they’d lead ya)
Back here where we need ya,
(Back here where we need ya),
Yeah we tease him a lot ’cause we got him on the spot,
Welcome back (7 times)
Second Verse
We always could spot a friend, welcome back,
And I smile when I think how you must have been,
And I know what a scene you were learning in,
Was there something that made you come back again.
And what could ever lead ya,
(What could ever lead ya)
Back here where we need ya,
(Back here where we need ya)
Yeah we tease him a lot ’cause we got him on the spot.
Chorus
Third Verse
And I know what a scene you were learning in,
Was there something that made you come back again,
And what could ever lead ya,
(What could ever lead ya)
Back here where we need ya,
(Back here where we need ya)
Yeah we tease him a lot ’cause we got him on the spot.
Chorus
Closing
Yeah we tease him a lot, welcome back, welcome back,
Cause we got him on the spot, welcome back, welcome back,

Yeah we tease him a lot ’cause we got him on the spot.

Chorus

Secret Agent Man Video

The song was written by Steve Barri and P.F. Sloan and performed by Johnny Rivers. The song eventually hit the #3 spot on the Billboard Hot 100. Rivers had more than a few other hits including, “Poor Side of Town,” “Baby I Need Your Lovin,” and “Summer Rain.”

Rivers was born John Henry Ramistella of Italian ancestry. Born in NYC, he along with his family moved to Baton Rouge. An agent convinced him to change his name to “Rivers” after the Mississippi which flows through Baton Rough.

Lyrics to Secret Agent Man

There’s a man who leads a life of danger,
To everyone he meets he stays a stranger.
With every move he makes another chance he takes,
Odds are he won’t live to see tomorrow.

Secret agent man, secret agent man.
They’ve given you a number, I know they’ve take away your name.

Beware of pretty faces that you find,
A pretty face can hide an evil mind.
Ah, be careful what you say
Or you’ll give yourself away,
Odds are you won’t live to see tomorrow.

Secret agent man, secret agent man,
They’ve given you a number, I know they’ve take away your name.

Secret agent man, secret agent man,
They’ve given you a number, oh they’ve taken away your name.

Swingin’ on the Riviera one day,
And then layin’ in the Bombay alley next day.
Oh, don’t you let you let the wrong word slip,
While kissing persuasive lips,
Odds are you won’t live to see tomorrow.

Secret agent man, secret agent man,
They’ve given you a number, oh they’ve take away your name.

Chico and the Man Theme


Jose Feliciano’s theme song is a classic. The show starred Freddie Prinze as Chico and Jack Albertson as the man.

Lyrics to Chico and the Man
Chico, don’t get discouraged,
The Man he ain’t so hard to understand.
Chico, if you try now,
I know that you can lend a helping hand.
Because there’s good in everyone
And a new day has begun
You can see the morning sun if you try.
And I know, things will be better
Oh yes they will for Chico and the Man
Yes they will for Chico and the Man.

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The Monkeys

“We’re the young generation, and we’ve got something to say,” is probably the signature line of this popular song. Written by Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart, the song is loosely based on an old hit by the Dave Clark Five called, “Catch Us If You Can.”

Lyrics to The Monkeys’ Theme Song
Here we come
Walkin’ down the street,
We get the funniest looks from
Everyone we meet.
Hey, hey, we’re the Monkees
And people say we monkey around,
But we’re too busy singing
To put anybody down.
We go wherever we want to
Do what we like to do,
We don’t have time to get restless
There’s always something new.
Hey, hey, we’re the Monkees
And people say we monkey around,
But we’re too busy singing
To put anybody down.
We’re just tryin’ to be friendly
Come and watch us sing and play,
We’re the young generation
And we’ve got something to say, oh
Any time,
Or anywhere,
Just look over your shoulder.
Guess who’ll be standing there?
Hey, hey, we’re the Monkees
And people say we monkey around,
But we’re too busy singing
To put anybody down.

Whaaa, one time!

Hey, hey, we’re the Monkees
And people say we monkey around,
But we’re too busy singing
To put anybody down.
We’re just tryin’ to be friendly,
Come and watch us sing and play.
We’re the young generation,
And we’ve got something to say.
Hey, hey, we’re the Monkees
Hey, hey, we’re the Monkees

The Courtship of Eddie’s Father

Written and performed by Harry Nilsson – of “Everybody’s Talkin” and “Me and My Arrow” fame – the song was played over the opening credits which usually featured the father and son in a touching moment.

Theme Song Lyrics: The Courtship of Eddie’s Father

People let me tell you about my best friend,
He’s a warm hearted person who’ll love me till the end.
People let me tell you bout my best friend,
He’s a one boy cuddly toy, my up, my down, my pride and joy.

People let me tell you ’bout him he’s so much fun
Whether we’re talkin’ man to man or whether we’re talking son to son.
Cause he’s my best friend.
Yeah he’s my best friend.

WKRP in Cincinnati

This show featured the hijinks of a radio station played from 1978 to 1982. Sung by Steve Carlisle, the song was written by the show’s creator Hugh Wilson and composed by Tom Wells. A single of this TV theme song charted at #65 in 1981.

WKRP in Cincinnati Theme Song Lyrics

Baby, if you’ve ever wondered,
Wondered whatever became of me,
I’m living on the air in Cincinnati, Cincinnati, WKRP.

Got kind of tired packing and unpacking,
Town to town and up and down the dial
Maybe you and me were never meant to be,
But baby think of me once in awhile.
I’m at WKRP in Cincinnati.

Fresh Prince of Bel Air

Written by DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince (Will Smith), this song became an instant classic.

Fresh Prince of Bel Air Theme Song Lyrics
Now, this is a story all about how
My life got flipped-turned upside down,
And I’d like to take a minute
Just sit right there.
I’ll tell you how I became the prince of a town called Bel Air
In west Philadelphia born and raised,
On the playground was where I spent most of my days
Chillin’ out maxin’ relaxin’ all cool
And all shootin some b-ball outside of the school.
When a couple of guys who were up to no good
Started making trouble in my neighborhood,
I got in one little fight and my mom got scared
She said ‘You’re movin’ with your auntie and uncle in Bel Air’.
I begged and pleaded with her day after day
But she packed my suit case and sent me on my way.
She gave me a kiss and then she gave me my ticket.
I put my Walkman on and said, ‘I might as well kick it’.
More from the Prince of Bel Air
First class, yo this is bad
Drinking orange juice out of a champagne glass.
Is this what the people of Bel-Air living like?
Hmm this might be alright.
But wait I hear they’re prissy, bourgeois, all that
Is this the type of place that they just send this cool cat?
I don’t think so
I’ll see when I get there,
I hope they’re prepared for the prince of Bel-Air
Well, the plane landed and when I came out.
There was a dude who looked like a cop standing there with my name out
I ain’t trying to get arrested yet,
I just got here
So I sprang with the quickness like lightning, disappeared.
I whistled for a cab and when it came near
The license plate said fresh and it had dice in the mirror,
If anything I could say that this cab was rare
But I thought ‘Nah, forget it’ – ‘Yo, homes to Bel Air’.
I pulled up to the house about seven or eigth
And I yelled to the cabbie ‘Yo homes smell ya later’,
I looked at my kingdom
I was finally there
To sit on my throne as the Prince of Bel Air.

The Jeffersons

“We finally got our piece of the pie!”

The show lasted 11 seasons, one of the longest running comedies on TV, and featured George and Louise Jefferson who just moved from Queens to Manhattan. A spin-off of “All in the Family,” George had been neighbors of Edith and Archie Bunker. The theme song was written by Ja’net Dubois and Jeff Barry and performed by Dubois and a gospel choir. Dubois played Willona Woods on Good Times – Dynomite!

Theme Lyrics

Well we’re movin on up, To the east side.
To a deluxe apartment in the sky.
Movin on up
To the east side.
We finally got a piece of the pie.
Fish don’t fry in the kitchen;
Beans don’t burn on the grill.
Took a whole lotta tryin’
Just to get up that hill.
Now we’re up in teh big leagues
Gettin’ our turn at bat.
As long as we live, it’s you and me baby
There ain’t nothin wrong with that.
Well we’re movin on up,
To the east side.
To a deluxe apartment in the sky.
Movin on up
To the east side.
We finally got a piece of the pie.

Love American Style

Beginning in the second season of the show, the theme song was sung by the Ron Hicklin Singers. There were also the singers behind the Partridge Family TV show.

Mary Tyler Moore Show

“Who can turn the world round with her smile?” Mary could, and she did.

Friends – I’ll Be There For You

Performed by the Rembrandt’s as the Friends’ cast played in the fountain. Didn’t this song make you feel just a little better?

Happy Days

This song peaked at #5 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1976. Written by Norman Gimbel and Charles Fox, Target stores ultimately licensed the song for an ad campaign in 2014. An updated version of “Rock Around the Clock” was also incorporated into the opening song.

Best Cartoon TV Theme Songs

Saturday morning was filled with some real gems for theme songs. Check these out and let us know what you think.

Johnny Quest

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How great do the graphics go along with this song? Pretty spectacularly!

The Jetsons

“His son Elroy…Daughter Judy…Jane his Wife” was a great introduction to George’s family.

George of the Jungle

Watch out for that tree!

Scooby-Doo, Where are You?

Has there ever been a more lovable TV dog than Scooby?

The Flintstones

It was a right of passage to learn all the lyrics to this song if you were a child in the 60s.

Hong Kong Phooey

You have to love everything about this show and song!

Speed Racer

Go go Speed Racer!

Yogi Bear

Better than the average TV theme song!

Underdog

“Speed of lightning, bolt of thunder…”

Shoeshine Boy’s alter ego, Underdog, was in love with Sweet Polly Purebred. When she was in trouble, watch out! “There’s no need to fear, Underdog is here!”

Pink Panther

Henry Mancini composed this classic.

Best Storytelling Theme Songs

Theme songs that outlined the plot were helpful, especially in the early stages of a show. For anyone under 12 years of age, the playing of the theme song, was your opportunity to sing along.

Beverly Hill Theme Song – Ballad of Jed Clampett

“Let me tell you a story about a man named Jed…” began one of the most memorable TV theme songs of all time.

Gilligan’s Island

A classic!

Green Acres

Eva Gabor and Eddie Albert belt out this favorite.

The Patty Duke Show

“But, there cousins, identical cousins…”

All in the Family (Those were the Days)

Edith’s singing seems to make this song even better.

The Adams Family

“The Adams Family started when Uncle Fester farted” are not the true lyrics. I was greatly misled by my older brother.

Best TV Theme Songs: Instrumental

Mission Impossible

If every phone had this for a ring tone, the world would be a better place.

Hawaii 5-0

How good is this?

The Dick Van Dyke Show

Short, but oh so good. I like how in the older seasons, Rob learns to walk around the hassock that’s tripping him.

M*A*S*H Opening Theme

There are also words to this song, but the TV show kept it instrumental.

The Andy Griffith Show

Best whistling opening ever!

Hogan’s Heroes

The theme song made you want to suit up for the good guys.

Get Smart

When Maxwell Smart started talking into his shoe, it made Charades that much easier.

7th Heaven

My daughters voted this into the top list.

Lyrics

7th Heaven
When I see their happy faces smilin’ back at me
7th Heaven
I know there’s no greater feelin’ than the love of family

Where can you go
When the world don’t treat you right
The answer is home
That’s the one place that you’ll find

7th Heaven (repeat three times)

Cheers

“Where everybody knows your name…”

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So, how did we do? Are these the best TV theme songs? What song would you add? What did we miss?

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